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Is confidence everything?

  1. Nov 10, 2008 #1
    Do you feel that confidence, both actualized internally, and projected externally in dealings with people, is perhaps among the most important factor for obtaining a quality of life devoid of excessive disconsolation?

    I'm talking about genuine confidence that is within merit. Not "false" confidence, or "overconfidence".

    After thinking it through, I can never remember a time in my life where I've been confident about much of anything. I tend to be pessimistic and somewhat introverted, and lately I've come to the conclusion that perhaps this attitude is not serving me well in my dealings with people.

    I've been thinking that even if a person has not fulfilled the societal mainstreams of what "success" is supposed to be, they might still be "respected", so long as they project an aura of confidence that is not necessarily unwarranted.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 10, 2008 #2


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    When responding, please make sure you have read and understand the OP's statement I have bolded. He is not talking about being arrogant or exibiting confidence that is unwarranted.
  4. Nov 10, 2008 #3
    yes, i understand that. what you are not understanding evo is that his own lack of confidence is probably unwarranted, and i even tried to show him why before you so rudely interrupted.

  5. Nov 10, 2008 #4


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    It sounds like you picture people who act big, show-off and tell people how good they are.
    That is not confidence. That is the mask they wear on the outside to hide their incompetence. It's actually insecurity.

    Genuine confidence comes from within and when you have it, you have no need to find validation from other people for your worth.

    But I`m actually confusing two kinds of confidence here.
    A 'confidence' in a certain skill, profession or some area of your life and self-confidence.
    The first kind is dependent on the skill. For example: I'm confident about my driving skills, but I`m not confident about my drawing skills. This is where incompetence plays a role.

    Self-confidence is the real important one. It's linked with your sense of self-worth. The way you see yourself an the world around you. Competence is not an issue here. You can be a total klutz in almost anything and still have genuine self-confidence. It's internal and not dependent on anything external, like how much money, success, friends etc. you have.

    To Holocene's original question:
    Here are my thoughts on where the feeling of 'excessive disconsolation' you mention comes from and the role of self-confidence in this.
    Intensity and passion come from doing the things in your life that really matter to you. Let your voice be heard and showing the world who you are and what you stand for. Being authentic all the way.
    This takes courage. A lot of courage, because many of us are afraid to show outside who we are on the inside. It means being vulnerable. But if you do, all emotions experienced are heightened, because, in success, you did it by being YOU and not by posing, kissing-butts or whatever. It's the fear of failure that holds us back, because these too are heightened.
    That's why you need self-confidence and self-worth. Confidence to take risks, think big and aim high. And self-worth to know that failing doesn't make you less of a person, that no-ones perfect and that you shouldn't take everything personally.

    Without these, you will lack the courage to take risks. Fear will rule your life. You won't have much personal failures, but no successes either and your emotional life will turn a dull shade of gray. Self-confidence is key.
  6. Nov 10, 2008 #5
    yeah, no, what i'm taking about is this:

    yes, that is a different thing and maybe has more to do with ones own social 'skills'. i disagree that it has nothing to do with competence though, if you consider social interaction a competence.
  7. Nov 10, 2008 #6
    Probably...most of the time I'm not particularly confident, but on the days or weeks that I am I certainly feel better, and everything goes easier...
  8. Nov 10, 2008 #7


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    Holocene, you are right about being confident. It really has nothing to do with accomplishments, you just need to appear confident. You will find that if you start projecting confidence that your confidence will actually increase.

    Even if you just start off with being confident that you are a nice person, people will pick up on that.

    Think about your good qualities and focus on those.
  9. Nov 10, 2008 #8
    Being confident is the difference between making a difficult jump and falling flat on your face. It's the Zen of it, really. Let go and let your body do the work that you know you know because you've trained so much.

    Of course, this doesn't apply to all things, but when talking to someone about say physics you can look confident if you know what the hell you are talking about that, and the only way you'll know that is by studying hard.

    Dealing with people is the same way. You have to practice and you'll get better. That's all it really boils down to. If you have some sort of anxiety issues, go talk to a doctor. They have meds for that now. But in general if you're healthy and "normal", then just interacting with people more should make you more confident around people.
  10. Nov 10, 2008 #9


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    You can exude confidence when speaking with someone more knowledgeable by admiting that you don't know much about the subject, but are interested and would like to understand more. Whether they want to talk to someone that wants to learn or not is not your problem. If they are not inclined to speak to someone that's interested in what they do, then move along. I find most people like to explain what they do to an interested listener. Rememebr, you learn more by listening than by speaking.
  11. Nov 10, 2008 #10
    Thanks Evo.

    I'm glad you can sympathize with my belief that even just acting confident could be half the battle.
  12. Nov 10, 2008 #11
    I think that what everyone has said about confidence is pretty much true, and I think that warranted confidence, a sort of gravitas, is a virtue, but looking back at the original post:
    What I have highlighted there sounds like "happiness" to me. I think that confidence is an illusory path to happiness because there can be no confidence that is unshakeable: no matter how good you are at something, you can one day find yourself facing someone who is better; and no matter how well you prepare there can be unforseen circumstances that defeat you through no fault of your own; confidence in material things, like land and property and other wealth, may lose value or be lost through misfortune as in this financial crisis of late; confidence in one's body, things like health and vigor and beauty, pass with time.

    So I think that the best bet for obtaining happiness is something like what Buddha taught: a tranquility and joy that transcends all material circumstances and things. Indeed I think that this is the ultimate benefit of any religion that is sought and found, but Buddha really had a focus on it and seems to have had the science of it down.

    In Buddhism, the tranquility and joy of one who is an arhat - who has achieved enlightenment or "laid down the burden" - emanates from him or her and is felt by the people all around. So it's quite attractive, if that's something you've got an interest in. :biggrin: (And actually, some Buddhists are kinda mad crazy into sex; if you've heard of Tantric Buddhism, some forms of that seek enlightenment by essentially developing the ability to experience a continuous orgasm, constantly, all the time.)

    But by the way, I'm not a Buddhist myself, I'm an atheist. And to reiterate, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with confidence, as I said I think it's a virtue, I just think that there are more certain paths to happiness than that.

    Oh, and if you haven't read it yet Siddhartha by Herman Hesse is a nice (fictional) exposition of Buddhism, an early 20th century novel that's a quick read and tells a dramatized version of the life of Buddha.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  13. Nov 10, 2008 #12
    Of course.

    In my example I was assuming you were explaining something to someone less knowledgeable. Like giving a presentation. If you actually know what you are presenting and know it in and out you are likely to feel a bit more comfortable and confident than if you decided to study everything the night before and besides that have no idea what you are talking about.
  14. Nov 10, 2008 #13
    fake it til you make it?

    or maybe just stop caring so much about how people react to you. i've come to believe that the way others treat you often has very little to do with any sort of earned respect. it has a lot to do with superficial things. how tall you are. how you dress. your face. etc. some things you can control, some you can't. you can try to be more positive, less negative.
  15. Nov 10, 2008 #14
    well said sir.
  16. Nov 10, 2008 #15


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    I call this "false" confidence. I remember talking about this with psych. students, and methods to actually "strip" away from the "confidence" from them, which displays that it is "false" or "fake". I believe "fake" confidence comes from our materialistic world. Basically, if you're a good looking guy, you should have confidence, you deserve confidence... hence treating it like an object. So that they project to people like they have confidence but really don't. (Kind of like how some good looking girls project high self esteem, but as we all know, sometimes it is fake.)

    I won't speak of ways to "strip" away confidence since it is "dangerous" and manipulative (could hurt someone). I do sometimes do it because it has to be done occasionally... arrogance and such. (Arrogance is not confidence... like Evo pointed out.)
  17. Nov 10, 2008 #16


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    Your definition of confidence is different from mine. All confidence should be shakeable and I think that realization is one of the biggest keys to gaining confidence.

    I wish I can give examples. It's hard to explain in a post. I'll give the jist of it. Confident with girls... shakeable ground would be meeting a girl from a different culture, i.e. difference expressions and expectations, etc...
  18. Nov 10, 2008 #17
    If I said that no confidence is unshakeable... and you said that all confidence should be shakeable... how are our definitions different?
  19. Nov 10, 2008 #18


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    Double negatives... duh. :uhh:

    Haha, I noticed that.
  20. Nov 10, 2008 #19
    No problemo. :cool:

    But also, you may have misread me. Holocene asked "is confidence the best way to have X" and I didn't talk about confidence, I said that X sounds like happiness and no, confidence is not the best way to acheive happiness.
  21. Nov 10, 2008 #20


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    I definitely agree. There is so much more to happiness, and fulfillment.

    I'm looking to acquire a life full of experiences, wisdom, achievements and failures, and so on, as opposed to one set as "happiness".
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